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Thursday, July 26, 2018

By Chris Frost

Special to the Tri County Sentry

Road and intersections in Oxnard took a step forward during the July 24, city council meeting, as the group awarded and authorized Mayor Tim Flynn to execute Agreement A-8088 in the amount of $1.561 million for the Auto Center Commercial Neighborhood Street Resurfacing Project PW 17-07 with Toro Enterprises, Inc.
The council also approved $156,085 for project contingency, plus an additional $156,085 for construction engineering inspection survey and project management for the work, and appropriated $92,000 from the street maintenance fund.

The council received recommendations about the street maintenance plan on July 18.

The work is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-August and continue through Nov.

During public comments, Pat Brown said the area is getting worse.

“It’s not just the people working at the car places, but it also involves the whole shopping center,” she said. “I’ve noticed in the last few weeks; it’s getting just awful.”
Council also approved a contract WKE, Inc. to complete the plans, specifications, and estimates (PS&E) for the Rice Avenue at Fifth Street Grade Separation Project in the amount of $5,354,840. They also approved the $13.929, million budget for the project and recognized a $12.406 million grant from State TCEP (Trade Corridor Enhancement Program) grant funds and $1.523 million from Federal Transportation Multiyear Grants Fund 275 to the Rice Avenue at 5th Street Grade upgrade. 
Transportation Services Manager Justin Link said the 2030 general plan includes a grade-separated construction at Rice Avenue and Fifth Street.

“The project will enhance safety and facilitate commerce by improving intermodal access to the Port of Hueneme,” he said. “It involves multiple agency coordination, Caltrans, Union Pacific Railroad, the California Public Utilities Commission, the Ventura County Transportation Commission and Ventura County.”

He said the estimated project cost is $79 million.

“Our initial agreement with WKE was awarded on Jan. 27, 2015 for preliminary engineering documents and the environmental impact report, in satisfaction of the California Quality Act,” he said. 

The first amendment with WKE was awarded July 12, 2016, he said, for preparing an additional environmental study and a full environmental assessment to meet the federal requirements.

A second amendment was awarded to WKE on Nov. 14, 2017, he said, for an additional environmental study and the preparation of a plan specification and estimate to keep the project on schedule.

“The draft environmental impact report and environmental assessment was circulated for public comment, and a public hearing was held on Jan. 31, 2018 right here in council chambers,” Link said. “The final Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Assessment was signed on May 16, 2018, with no finding of significant impact.”

He said the city released a request for proposal on March 9, 2018, and had a mandatory pre-proposal meeting and on March 19. The due date was April 8.
“We received one proposal from WKE Incorporated,” he said. “The city prepared a public interest finding with Caltrans stipulating that Caltrans be the lead agency on the project,” he said. “We did not believe that re-advertising the project would mean additional proposals and would unduly extend the project’s timeline.”

The grant application for the Trade Corridor Enhancement program (TCEP) was submitted by Caltrans for the city for $68.6 million with no match requirement.
"On May 16-17, the California Transportation Commission adopted the TCEP program and recommended the grant funds for the project,” he said.

A grant application was also prepared and submitted for the railroad safety grant for safe transportation of energy products for $1,523 million, he said. “The match requirement for STEP Funds is $380, 830, which city council has already encumbered as part of the second amendment contract."

Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez said Proposition 6 if passed, makes money for the project disappear.

“In our discussions with our state delegation last week, they stressed the importance of making sure that all the Oxnard voters understand the upcoming ballot measure is the threat to this project,” Assistant City Manager Jesus Nava said.